September 3, 2008
But no one told me the auction rules!!!!
I heard that comment today from a bidder who had never been to an auction before. I can see where not knowing the rules would lead to confusion and even frustration. But there is a solution. Auctioneers want you to know the rules. The more you know about the rules, the more likely your auction experience will be a pleasant one. There are no "secret" rules. We'll tell you what you need to know. In fact, we usually tell you everything in more ways than one.
All auctions have rules, and they are commonly referred to as "terms and conditions". We'll tell you the terms and conditions at the beginning of a sale through our announcements. We'll provide you with a copy of the terms and conditions when you accept a bid card. In fact, the bid card is actually a contract. Yes, a contract. It tells you what the rules are, and it tells you what is expected of you. By signing for a bid card, you have agreed to accept these rules and abide by them. So, your signature on a bid card means you have signed a legal contract with the auctioneer and the seller. Like most contracts, a bid card has terms and conditions that will usually explain the consequences of not abiding by the contract.
Here's the most important part of a contract – READ IT! If you wouldn't sign a contract without reading it completely, then don't sign a bid card without reading it. We'll gladly let you look it over before we ask you to sign. In fact, we prefer it. We'd be happy to explain anything you have questions about. If you don't like the terms, then don't sign the contract. Of course, that also means you won't be able to bid or participate in the sale.
We try to give you other ways to know the rules as well. Many of the rules are posted on signs when you register or where the sale auctioneer is conducting the sale. We usually put the full terms and conditions on our website for each sale as well, so you have an opportunity to review them before you even choose to attend the sale.
Still not sure what the rules are? ASK! Our staff wants you to have a positive auction experience. We'll do our best to help you understand BEFORE you bid. However, we'll assume that because you're bidding that you know the rules. If you're really not sure, then the only answer is "don't bid".
The bottom line is that rules exist at auctions – most are in place to ensure that the sale runs smoothly and that there are no disputes. But one rule is universal: by entering or offering a bid, you're telling the seller and the auctioneer that you agree to the rules. So, unless you know what the rules are, find out before you bid. We'll all have a more pleasant experience this way.
If you have questions about these rules, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll do my best to help you understand.
We'll see you at our next auction.